Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

RTF sweeps film festival competitions this summer and fall

Over this past summer, coming into the fall, UW Oshkosh’s Film Society and radio/TV/film courses have been sweeping film awards. 

Students have been successful in script writing, production, costume design and much more.

Bailey Laird, recent UWO graduate, and Joely Hurkman, a senior in the RTF department, are two students who received awards recently. 

“My creative process really varies depending on the project,” Laird said. “I usually work with my best friend and creative partner on most of my projects, so thankfully we have a workflow and collaborative energy right out the gate.”

When Laird works along, he visualizes a couple frames he wants to see on the screen and progresses from there.  

“I really enjoy writing about fantastical situations somewhat grounded in realism,” Laird said. “I like a fun mix of crazy unrealistic but grounded and emotionally heavy themes.” 

Hurkman’s process is completely different from Laird’s. 

“In terms of writing, my creative process is trying to stay as realistic for the audience as possible,” Hurkman said. “Now, that doesn’t sound very creative, but it does give readers a sense of what is really happening.”

Hurkman finds that the best stories are the ones she can relate to.

“Everything I write comes with some bit of truth, either something that happened to myself or an experience that my friend had,” Hurkman said. 

Hurkman tends to look at her creative process differently when she’s the producer. She’s looking to make the fictional world come to life.  

“I want to make sure we have a good setting that the director can work in comfortably and have actors that are committed to the role. With this comes lots of organization,” Hurkman said. “Everything needs to be timed out and well-planned to make the day go as smoothly as possible. If I can eliminate as many stressful elements as possible, then that makes everyone involved more relaxed.”

Laird recently attended the Her Vision Film Festival for his senior RTF class and Hurkman attended the Star City Film Festival. For both of them, this was their first time attending one. 

“I attended [Her Vision] for my senior RTF class, and it was something I was in a leadership role for,” Laird said. “Despite my bias, it was a lot of fun! That class had us make a short film in 14 weeks, and then we got to show it off to our family and friends, so that was a feeling of accomplishment or exposure I wasn’t used to, but enjoyed dearly.”

“Attending the Star City Film Festival was very fun. I went with great people, great classmates and a great professor and that really made the experience worthwhile,” Hurkman said. “Honestly, I went in with no expectations because I haven’t ever been to one before, and I was not disappointed.”

Laird and Hurkman agreed that the atmosphere was intoxicatingly exciting. Both the guests and the film crews attending had energy radiating from them the whole day. 

“I felt great,” said Hurkman. “There is no reason not to be excited that a film that so many of us had worked on was getting recognition.”

“The best way I can describe the energy was excitement and feeling that this was the beginning of the rest of my career,” Laird said. “I had gained so much experience in school and on indie sets this past year, and even past graduation, so it really felt like my dream became a reality.”

Both of them said they enjoyed the experience of attending. 

Hurkman and Laird said they were both heavily influenced by their parents to pursue film in college. 

Laird’s father started taking him to movies at 3-years-old and they bonded over it. 

Hurkman and her mother have their weekly show-watching dates and her and her father watch a movie together weekly. 

“We bonded over this kind of thing,” Laird said. “That bond would grow even stronger since he actually went to school for acting and has now been getting involved more and more with indie shoots and smaller industry parts.”

“Every winter when he (her father) and I are finishing up wreath and Christmas tree sales, we’d put on a movie and have it play in the background,” Hurkman said. “On long days, we would put on a whole series and have them play throughout the entire night.” 

Hurkman and Laird are just two examples of the incredible amount of talent within the RTF department at UWO, and the past few months have proven that. 

Hurkman and Laird both provided the best advice they’ve received in the RTF department:

“‘You can only try, and you learn more when you fail.’ I think that really captures the students and myself well,” Hurkman said. “A lot of our work, whether it be editing or trying to assemble the cameras for sporting events, requires a lot of questions and hands-on experience. No one is perfect right away, but the more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out.”

“I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from the RTF department here at Oshkosh, was from Dr. Mike Van Esler,” said Laird. “It wasn’t about filmmaking per se, but more about watching movies. He told me, ‘You will never finish your watchlist.’ He may not have realized how much that affected me. Not only did that resonate with me about how much I want to watch, but also I took it with a different meaning about filmmaking.”

“There’s so little time to watch and make stuff, so if you are someone in this field trying to make things, make sure you care about it, so the time is well-spent,” Laird said. “I have already had a few projects I couldn’t stand making both in school and out, and it really becomes draining when you aren’t 100% in on the production and care.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Advance-Titan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest